Take a Fresh Look At PR For Your Company Formation

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In a recession the culture of consumerism changes; not only are people spending less, they are also more selective about the brands they buy from. Consumers are more attracted to brands with integrity, they no longer respond to gimmicks or mass market advertising.  Obviously, this has a major impact on the way a business talks to its consumer base and many small businesses are looking to the PR model to communicate their brand in a positive way. In this post, we look at the challenges many small businesses face when trying to devise a successful public relations strategy and consider whether it is better to keep PR in house or to outsource.
The agency dilemma
At the beginning of the company formation process many business owners may decide to manage all PR activity themselves, however, as their business grows many find they do not have the time to spare. At this stage they must decide if they want to outsource or keep the process in house. Appointing a PR agency will obviously come at a price. Most agencies charge a monthly retainer, which will by devised according to the amount of time you want them to spend on your campaign.
Though most agency’s do over service accounts, to secure results , Daniel Roberts , owner of e-shop ‘Jumble’, warns that  if you choose to outsource, good results are often contingent on a big budget
“At the beginning we were on a monthly retainer of £1000 a month and agreed with the agency that as our business grew so to would their fee. However, we found that our budget was not enough to secure the coverage we were expecting.”
Instead of cutting his losses, Roberts increased his PR budget and remained at his agency. “Though our previous budget didn’t result in much coverage, the leads we did get were excellent and I felt that the editorial endorsement PR provides would be extremely important to the progress of my company. Therefore, I decided to increase the budget to £3,500 a month. This allowed the agency to spend a lot more time on the account. It also enabled me to see the level of results possible and make an informed decision on whether we would continue PR after our six month contract expired.”
Roberts has now been employing his PR agency for one year and is extremely pleased with the results. “I have received a large amount of coverage at, what I believe to be, a low cost relative to what I would have spent on advertising placements. The leads we have received are targeted and almost always convert.”
If you are willing to invest in PR, Roberts believes that a good agency is crucial to the success of your campaign. He says “Obviously, doing PR in house would be cheaper, but I honestly feel that it would be a false economy. Our PR success is a result of the experience of the agency and the established relationships they have with journalists. I honestly believe that there is no way we would have achieved the same resultS if we had chosen to take PR activity in-house.”
Rachel Harrison has a different opinion. Harrison, was recruited as an in-house PR manager by expanding design company ‘Orchid’ three years ago. All PR activity is managed solely by her and they have some great results. Having worked within an agency and now as an in-house executive, Harrison has the experience of both sides and believes that dealing with PR in-house guarantees the hard work and focus need to get good results
“I began working at a well known PR agency, right from university and was there for two years. I had so many accounts I didn’t feel the clients were getting the most out of their investment. Now I am in-house I have a level of passion for our brand and an understanding of our consumers that you only really get when you work somewhere. I also have the focus and time to exhaust every available PR opportunity; you just don’t have that sort of freedom at an agency.”

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